VR is taking the world of theme parks by storm and Knott’s is getting in on the action with the introduction of VR ‘Showdown in Ghost Town’, an all new up-charge experience found in the Boardwalk Arcade just under the Iron Reef attraction. Showdown in Ghost Town comes from a collaboration between Knott’s and VRStudios, who also created The Repository VR Experience at HHN Orlando last year. We had the chance to experience this new addition to the park for a short media tour and we loved everything we saw.
The entrance of the attraction can be found inside the Arcade itself. Just look for the blow-up wall and you’ve found Professor Welles lab, the main setting of VR ‘SIGT’ (we’re going to go with SIGT for the remainder of the article). The main queue room is small but includes a pre-show video that sets up the story, an animated robot hand that opens and closes, and a whole lot of steampunk inspired props.
Eagle eye’d Knott’s fans will notice this relic from the classic Kingdom of the Dinosaur attraction. (In fact, the entire experience does feel like a giant lover letter to KOD).
You then enter the main area of the attraction, the heart of Professor Welles lab. In this lab you find 8 pods, each pod can fit two guests who are both equipped with VR headsets. So 16 guests can fit in the attraction at one time. The theming in this room is very well done from the awesome scenic team at Knotts.
Inside the pods are very minimalist, some lightly themed walls and a soft floor mat, which is more than you’ll find at most VR experiences.
And this is where you enter the virtual world and travel back in time to a 3D semi-recreation of Knott’s Ghost Town. The world was created and rendered using the Unreal Engine 4 utilizing Oculus Spatial Audio. It’s a VERY high end experience that one would expect to find on a big convention show floor or trade show. The game play is simple, point your gun at robots and shoot! The more robots you hit the more points you get. While shooting at robots – you’re encouraged to roam around with your partner (granted you’re limited to the space of the floor mat), dodge incoming missiles and debris as well as duck behind barrels and barriers for cover.
The gameplay runs about 3 and a half minutes and in it you find yourself facing hundreds of robots, a big boss battle and some unexpected surprises in between. It’s one of the better VR experiences that I’ve had. You’re not limited to a single track like most theme park VR experiences and you’re encouraged to work together with your partner. For only $6 a person you’d be doing yourself and Knott’s a disservice if you don’t check out VR Showdown in GhostTown at least once. Especially if you’re a die-hard Knott’s fan, the references to past Knott’s attractions are aplenty in this one.
Stay tuned for more from Knott’s Berry Farm including The Boysenberry Festival, and be sure to get social with us on Facebook, and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!